Hackley School students host a walkout in conjunction with schools nationwide

Students and faculty gather around akin common for a 34 second moment of silence.
Students and faculty gather around akin common for a 34 second moment of silence.
Credit: Ella Jones

Upper School students engaged in a student-led walkout at 10:00 am on March 14, 2018 to honor the lives of the victims of the Parkland shooting, and to call for meaningful gun regulation reform.

Hundreds of students and many teachers flocked to Akin Common for a moment of silence that commemorated the lives taken by Nicholas Cruz in Florida last month. Students from all four grades of the Upper School took part in the event. And while the Middle School did hold its own separate walkout, some students from the Middle School participated in the moment of silence alongside their older comrades.

After the moment of silence, Junior Amy Chalan recited a letter, addressed to state representatives, that calls for effective legislation to be enacted to protect schools across the nation. Students and teachers had the opportunity to sign the letter throughout the day.

The large group of students and teachers proceeded down to Benedict Field after Chalan’s remarks. As the group neared Benedict, they encountered 121 flags alongside the stairway leading down to the field. Such flags held the names of children whose lives ended prematurely in school shootings since the Columbine shooting in 1999. A few students were also equipped with protest signs. Upper School History Teacher Vladimir Klimenko carried a sign which reflected his support for students in their fight against the N.R.A..

Hackley’s walkout was not an isolated event. Thousands of other students across the nation participated in similar walkouts at their own schools; young Americans are demanding reform.

“Our generation is constantly labeled as egocentric,” said senior Jess Feldman, “However, the national student walkout proved other otherwise; I am confident that our generation is going to make change and [the walkout] was just the first stepping stone.”

UNITY, Progressive Action League, and Gun Control Advocacy League were the three clubs which worked to plan the walkout. Many students dressed down in orange, a color now being worn to protest gun violence in America, for the event. Junior Matt Fisch, who also serves as co-leader of the Progressive Action League club, handed out orange wristbands to many attendants of the walkout. In addition, students who were soon to be or had already been eligible to vote had access to voter registration forms located in the Grille Room during the day.

The walkout occurred one day after a roundtable discussion on gun control that was well-attended by Upper School students; the roundtable fostered robust discussion concerning the future of guns in America. And Upper Schoolers also expressed optimistic attitudes concerning the nation’s future after the walkout. “I hope that teenagers everywhere see this movement and are encouraged to be politically active in any way that they can, and I hope that those who participated in the walkout continue to advocate for their beliefs,” said junior Max Mallet.



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by Alexa Augustine
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